Hortonville, WI Divorce Lawyer

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When you are going through the divorce process, it is easy to feel confused and scared. Those are natural emotions to feel when you are exiting a marriage and looking at rebuilding your life as a single person. Working with a divorce lawyer will not eliminate these feelings, but it can help you put them into perspective and feel less intimidated by the divorce process.

Take time to learn about getting divorced in Wisconsin before you file your paperwork. It can be a complex process and the most effective way to make it less stressful for yourself is to work with an experienced divorce lawyer in Hortonville, WI.

What to Know Before you File for Divorce

Every state has specific laws governing divorce. Before you begin the divorce process in Wisconsin, familiarize yourself with Wisconsin’s divorce laws. In Wisconsin:

  • There is a 120-day waiting period that goes into effect when an individual files for divorce. His or her divorce cannot be finalized before this period ends;
  • To file for divorce in Wisconsin, an individual or his or her spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months;
  • In Wisconsin, there are no “fault” divorces. Every divorce is a no-fault divorce;
  • Divorces are handled by the circuit courts of each county. An individual can file with the county where he or she lives or his or her spouse’s county; and
  • Couples’ marital property is divided according to the doctrine of community property.

Components of a Divorce Order

  • A property distribution order;
  • A child custody order;
  • A child support order; and
  • A spousal maintenance order.

If you and your spouse do not have minor children, your divorce will not involve a child custody or child support order. Further, if neither spouse seeks spousal maintenance or an order of spousal maintenance is denied, it will not involve a spousal maintenance order. The only order that every divorce has in common is a property division order. This is true regardless of the size of the couple’s marital estate.

The couple’s marital estate is comprised of all their marital assets, which are all the assets the couple obtained together and any commingled assets they have. Commingled assets are assets that were initially separate assets, but became partially or wholly marital property because of a change in value due to the spouses’ shared efforts. The only assets not subject to division are separate assets, assets that either spouse owned before entering the marriage and assets that were obtained as gifts or through inheritance.

When one spouse sacrificed his or her earning capacity to care for the couple’s home and children, he or she may be able to receive spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is money one former partner pays to the other to protect him or her from financial hardship following their divorce. This money may be paid in installments or in a lump sum, and it may be permanent or paid over a fixed period of time.

Child support is money one parent pays to the other on a recurring basis to help him or her cover the costs associated with raising their children, like childcare costs and higher utility bills. The court determines an appropriate amount for a couple’s child support order using a specific formula.

A child custody order outlines the time the children will spend with each parent after the divorce and each parent’s rights and responsibilities for the children after the divorce. A parent’s right to spend time with his or her child is known as physical custody. Parents may have joint physical custody or one may have sole physical custody, in which case the other parent may have visitation with the children. A parent’s responsibility to make decisions on the child’s behalf, like choosing the medical care he or she will receive and the religion in which he or she will be raised, is known as legal custody. Like physical custody, parents may have joint or shared legal custody of their children. The court determines an appropriate child custody order for each family by considering a set of factors, like:

  • The children’s relationships with each parent;
  • The children’s personal needs;
  • Each parent’s day-to-day caregiving responsibilities;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide for the children financially; and
  • Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household.

Understanding the Divorce Process

You might think you can get divorced without a lawyer, and this is correct. You are not legally required to work with a lawyer to complete the divorce process. But working with a lawyer will almost always guarantee a better outcome for you because:

  • A divorce lawyer understands the nuances of the divorce process and can walk you through each step;
  • A divorce lawyer understands your rights and will ensure they are protected;
  • Divorce lawyers are well-versed in negotiating divorce settlements, which can increase your chance of achieving your divorce goals;
  • Your divorce lawyer can advise you on which legal actions to take, like knowing when mediation is not working and litigation is your only choice; and
  • Your divorce lawyer likely has a vast professional network of individuals who can help you with your divorce, like a real estate appraiser and a child custody evaluator.

Your lawyer’s job is to be your advocate. He or she can help you identify the best route through the divorce process for you and work with you to pursue your divorce goals, like retaining your marital home or getting joint custody of your children.

Work with an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Hortonville, WI

Sometimes, divorce is the healthiest option for every member of a household. If your marriage has reached the point where recovery simply is not an option, start working with an experienced divorce lawyer now to learn more about your rights, your options, and all that the divorce process entails. Contact our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

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